Intro to Business 2018: Fuzz Zs
Approaching the door of Jared Lowe’s classroom during third hour on any given day, the lively sound of students hard at work emanates from the door.
A step into Lowe’s Intro to Business class captivates any visitor with the animated atmosphere, groups huddled around shiny new products at each table, engrossed in the discussing and planning of managing a business.
In the back of the classroom sits senior Carmen Marshall, accompanied by her fellow group members, partaking in their own discussion.
“So our company is called Fuzz Zs,” Carmen said. “[We sell] conformity slippers, so they’ve got little grippies on the bottom, but they’re the comfort of socks– they’re super warm.”
As part of Lowe’s Intro to Business class, students are made to conceive their own company and product to market and sell in the real world. Thus, Carmen- along with sophomore Aseel Ayesh, freshman Zach Harris, junior Bryce Houghton, and sophomore Matthew Trieweiler- developed Fuzz Zs for their project, liking the idea of selling slippers for the coming winter months.
“Winter is coming, and people need good Christmas gifts,” Aseel said. “So if you have a mother, friend, or grandmother, [the slippers] would be a good gift.”
The group received their first batch of products about three weeks ago and have been working relentlessly to sell ever since. However, the path from conception to sales has been a difficult one, testing the group in ways no traditional group project ever has.
“Well, we have a supply chain manager, and he ordered all the product after we brought in the capital, which we had to raise on our own,” Carmen said. “And then after we ordered all the product, we brought it in, and we figured out how we were going to package it. We made sure to get all the supplies for the packaging, and then we started making sales.”
Through this process, the pursuit of quality was always one of the group’s biggest priorities.
“We wanted to find the best company,” Carmen said, “that was the cheapest for us to buy the product from and that would satisfy our customers the most, and [we] just went from there.”
To aid in this arduous, unconventional process, each group member is given a title that comes with individual responsibilities– Carmen as head management, while Aseel, Zach, Bryce, and Matthew take care of finance, marketing, sales, and supply chain respectively.
However, this added emphasis on collaboration presents difficulties.
“Each person has a responsibility, Aseel said, “and if those responsibilities are not met, our group gets behind.”
Carmen, too, has found this to be not only one of the group’s biggest obstacles but also one of the most valuable teaching moments.
“Teamwork makes the dream work,” Carmen said. “If we don’t all work together, then things don’t get done in the right way, and that’s how a business runs.”
As the group progresses with their company, sales have also proved to be another difficult aspect.
“Sales have been the toughest part of our business because not everyone can afford these conformity slippers,” Carmen said.
At $17, the slippers may appear rather pricey to some. But the group has worked hard not only to ensure quality but also a fair, affordable price compared to competitors.
“We want to satisfy our consumers,” Aseel said. “It’s not that expensive. Would you spend $17 on a pair of slippers for your mother for Christmas? This is a good deal because at Walmart and other places, they sell them for like $35– the exact same pair for like $35. So this is a good deal.”
Despite the adversities with sales, the group is determined to persevere, working hard to brainstorm marketing strategies.
“I’m creating a website for the company, so it’s in the process of being created,” Zach said. “And then I posted a listing of our products on Facebook Marketplace, and I’m trying to get more views on that. I’m trying to figure out a way to promote the product and maybe post to other places like the app called Letgo or any other [platforms] designed for [selling]. And then I might be creating some ads too.”
They also have plans to reach out to various locations like nursing homes and churches to sell their product; moreover, they will be selling at all three lunches on Tuesdays and Thursdays in the near future.
Nevertheless, despite the trials of the project, the group has grown to appreciate the challenge. After all, many of them took the class to gain a real-life taste of what the business field is truly like.
“I took this class because my dad’s a businessman,” Aseel said, “and so I was like, ‘I want to experience what he goes through every day.’ ”
That authentic experience is certainly what the group has gotten
“I see [this class] as an introduction to what we’re heading into in the future,” Aseel said. “So you’re going to have to learn how to manage your own money and get out there by yourself and deal with things. But this class also teaches us how to deal with problems, like how to be flexible.”
This class’s unconventional but richly eye-opening nature is undeniable, and its students unquestionably come out of it with newfound knowledge and perspective.
“I thought it was going to be a great business class to learn how to run my own business,” Carmen said, “and that’s what I got.”